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Thursday, November 6, 2003

Principles for human rights hawks.

An important op-ed in yesterday's Boston Globe by John Shattuck:

Human rights hawks are glad that Saddam Hussein is no longer murdering his citizens. Why, then, are we upset over President Bush's Iraq policy? Because it ignores the lessons of earlier human rights wars, is failing to stabilize the country, and risks doing more harm than good.

Since the end of the Cold War, violent political, ethnic, and religious conflict, compounded by brutal repression and state failure, has created a climate of global insecurity. Over the past decade, human rights wars have engulfed the people of Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chechnya, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other failed states, to say nothing of the Middle East, killing more than 6 million civilians and forcing more than 40 million more to become refugees. These wars are rooted in the same deadly environment in which terrorism thrives, as Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attackers showed by using Afghanistan and Sudan as training bases.

International security depends on containing these conflicts, and doing so requires clear rules about whether, when, and what type of ''humanitarian intervention'' may be justified to protect human rights. Here are four:

  • First, large-scale genocide or crimes against humanity are being committed.

  • Second, the conflict is creating major regional instability, which the neighboring countries want to contain by supporting a multilateral intervention sanctioned by the United Nations or a regional organization like NATO.

  • Third, intervention is not likely to lead to wider conflict — for example, by stimulating increased terrorism or provoking other countries to enter into the hostilities.

  • Fourth, the planned scale, duration, and intensity of the intervention are sufficient to achieve the objective of saving lives and rebuilding the country.
  • Shattuck goes on to explain how Bush has failed to meet any of these requirements.

    ("In Iraq, US ignores human rights lessons", John Shattuck, Boston Globe 11.5.03)

    Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 6 November 2003 at 8:45 AM

    Previous: Dawkins's crusade.
    Next: Course correction.

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